While it’s undeniable that Marvel and DC have ruled the box office when it comes to comic book adaptations, that doesn’t mean other publishers’ properties haven’t also found success. In fact, it could be argued that Dark Horse’s Hellboy has become one of the more recognizable franchises to emerge outside of the Big Two, effectively amassing an impressive cult following along the way.
Unfortunately, there really hasn’t been anything to consume outside of the comics themselves since Hellboy II: The Golden Army hit theaters back in 2008. Sure, director Guillermo Del Toro and lead actor Ron Perlman both expressed interest in rounding out the trilogy, but with the former always booking himself with new projects and the second film not meeting expectations at the box office, the situation looked incredibly bleak as time went on. Quite frankly, if you want to blame anybody for stalling the franchise, point the finger at whomever at the studio thought it was a good idea to open a week before The Dark Knight.
On the plus side, a reboot was announced a few months back, something we’ll take as a nice consolation prize. Set to be directed by Neil Marshall with David Harbour in the title role, early word says that we’re in for a darker experience, with Harbour himself crossing his fingers for an R-rating.
Assuring that there’ll be some quality control, Hellboy creator Mike Mignola will serve as co-executive producer for the next motion picture. In fact, it’s his wish that it be successful enough to spawn a cinematic universe of its own, while also explaining that the reboot will adhere to the source material in some respect:
“Yeah. It’s a very loose adaptation of one of the Hellboy graphic novels. When you have more books out there, you have a lot more to sift through. You can look around at how big the world is, and borrow pieces from here and there. You want to sell a larger world, but you have to pick and choose what goes in there. The challenge for us has been to not lose sight of the specific story, but suggest the elements of a larger story. My hope is that this introduces a lot of stuff that then expands into a Hellboy Cinematic Universe.”
Should the Hellboy revival prove successful with moviegoers, the potential for such a thing most certainly exists. Knowing that there have been spinoff comics such as Abe Sapien, Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder and one for the B.P.R.D. itself, there’s definitely a vast well for potential filmmakers to tap in the future. Let’s just hope they get the opportunity to do so.